Access Solar

While the price tag of solar has fallen nearly 50% in the past five years, front-loaded installation costs mean that solar energy is still out of reach for many. While federal and state incentives have helped to overcome this barrier, they have largely been directed to single family homeowners. As clean energy technologies become more widespread, it’s important that the benefits are shared by all members of our community.

Green Divide Graphic

Powered by Spark Northwest, the “Access Solar” program works with local stakeholders to research, design and implement a pathway for affordable solar energy in Seattle. By uniting our expertise in solar deployment with partner expertise in multifamily housing development, we will show how to lower operating costs for affordable housing providers with onsite renewable energy. Ongoing collaboration with Emerald Cities Seattle, low income housing providers, utilities, financing institutions, and foundations will inform our efforts to break down the barriers to solar energy for all. Our efforts focus on:

  • Tapping into the holistic benefits of solar deployment, including job creation, energy awareness, and community resilience
  • Reforming our community solar law to encourage solar on affordable housing
  • Creating a commercial-scale incentive for solar on multifamily housing and commercial property
  • Complementing state and federal funds for electric bill assistance with investments in efficiency and solar energy generation

If you’re interested in Access Solar, please email us and let us know when and how we can reach you for a conversation.

Resources:

  • Access for All: Pathways to Expand Solar Access to Renters and Multifamily Households in the City of Seattle, a policy guide developed by Interstate Renewable Energy Council.
  • Affordable Clean Energy for All: A Guide to Installing Solar Photovoltaics on Multifamily Affordable Housing in Washington, published in March 2016, is a tool to explore solar feasibility, sources of funding, and project implementation.
  • Our June 2015 Report, Solar PV for Multifamily Affordable Housing in Seattle, starts the discussion by providing a deeper understanding of the challenges to and opportunities for clean energy accessibility.
  • Check out our visual demonstrating the “Green Divide” in solar incentive distribution.

To inform our work, we are actively recruiting for board members that understand and represent the priorities of marginalized and low-income communities. We are looking for support to increase our institutional understanding and capacity for creative and empowering decision making which reflects the urgency and importance of climate justice. Interested in learning more?

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Spark Northwest provides publications, guidebooks and web tools that help communities pursue clean energy projects.